"Chart Beat" columnist Fred Bronson answers readers' questions on Kelly Clarkson's historic jump to No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100, Las Ketchup's "Asereje/The Ketchup Song," and Lulu.
KELLY HAS LEAPT THE BUILDING
I have a question based on a comment you made in Chart Beat Bonus last week. For some reason, I thought R. Kelly & Celine Dion's "I'm Your Angel" vaulted to No. 1 from some position in the 40s. All this time I've been thinking that was the all-time record for the Hot 100. Of course, assuming Kelly Clarkson makes the leap this week that would no longer be the case. Could you verify this?
If you look at the Hot 100 dated Dec. 5, 1998, it does appear that "I'm Your Angel" by R. Kelly & Celine Dion moved 46-1. But there's more to this move than meets the eye.
That was the week chart rules changed, to allow (for the first time in the history of the Hot 100) album tracks to chart, based on airplay. The numbers in the "Last Week" column of that Dec. 5 Hot 100 were actually those of a test chart from the previous week. Before the change in chart policy was implemented, Billboard had been compiling a weekly test chart using these new rules. So on the last Hot 100 of November 1998, "I'm Your Angel" did not appear, because as an album track, it was not eligible. On the test chart where airplay-only tracks were included, it was No. 46.
The 46-1 move was thus an illusory one, and can't be counted among the biggest leaps to No. 1. Fortunately, Kelly Clarkson's "A Moment Like This" takes a giant 52-1 leap this week, so there's no ambiguity about her record-setting jump [see Chart Beat Bonus].
WHY ISN'T 'BEFORE'AFTER?
I have a question about the Kelly Clarkson single. I know that "A Moment Like This" is receiving the airplay and sales points for the Hot 100, but why are they doing the video for "Before Your Love" and not the single that is actually popular? The only guess I have is that it will be used as a tool to snag singles sales and interest in both tunes since it is technically a double A-sided single.
You're right. As far as RCA is concerned, "A Moment Like This" / "Before Your Love" is a single with two A-sides. The Hot 100 is a song chart, not a singles chart, so both sides can't occupy the same position. The rules are, the song receiving the most airplay when the first single first charts will receive all of the sales points for the life of that single. That means "Before Your Love" can chart on its own, but will only receive airplay points. At the moment, "A Moment Like This" is the side getting the most airplay, by a wide margin.
Still, it's in RCA's interest to promote both sides of the single. Each single sold counts toward the chart position of "A Moment Like This," whether people are buying the record for "Moment" or "Before."
YOU SAY TOMATO, I SAY 'THE KETCHUP SONG'
A few weeks ago, when the group Las Ketchup guested on the [German] Viva TV channel, the moderator talked about their current single, "The Ketchup Song."
One member said that the current single is "Asereje," not "The Ketchup Song". But then the moderator showed them a record with a big title "The Ketchup Song" and only a small title "(Asereje)".
Then, no further comment. It looks like the group doesn't know what their label is doing!?
I don't think we can blame the three sisters who make up the group Las Ketchup. Their single has been released in many different countries aside from their native Spain, and marketing decisions about the cover art for the CD-single can be different in each territory.
Billboard lists the title as "Asereje/The Ketchup Song" on our international charts, On the Hot Latin Tracks chart, where the song moves 21-13 this week, the title is simply "Asereje."
For those who are curious to hear this song that is No. 1 in many European countries as well as on the Eurochart Hot 100 Singles tally published in Billboard's sister magazine, Music & Media, tune in to "The Billboard Radio Countdown" that will be posted at billboardradio.com on Wednesday (Oct. 2). "The Ketchup Song" will be played in our "Hits of the World" feature. And when Chuck Taylor pronounces the title, you'll know how to say "Asereje" (Fortunately, Chuck's Spanish is better than his French. Last week, he had to call in Billboard.com news editor Jonathan Cohen to announce the title of a song from an album in the French charts.).
For those wondering why sisters Pilar, Lola, and Lucia call themselves Las Ketchup, they are the daughters of flamenco guitarist Tomate, and their first album is titled "Hijas del Tomate" ("Daughters of the Tomato").
A LULU OF A SINGER
I'm sure you've heard the new CD from Lulu entitled "Together," featuring duets with Elton John, Sting, Cliff Richard, and others. I just got an import copy of it today from Australia (along with my Kylie Minogue "Greatest Hits" CD; coincidence?) and it is terrific! Not only does she sound great, but she looks wonderful as well.
Considering that she first charted in the U.K. in 1964 at age 15 with "Shout" (peaked at No. 7), she doesn't show any signs of slowing down. In fact, I think Lulu is better than ever! Wouldn't you agree? Now if she would only do a duet with Kylie!
I did make a point to order the Lulu album as soon as it came out, as I had been hearing about it for at least a year before its official release. I'm an unabashed Lulu fan. She graciously invited me to her home in London when I interviewed her for "The Billboard Book of Number One Hits," and I was lucky enough to see her in the West End musical "Song and Dance," as she was only in it briefly before developing nodes on her vocal chords.
There's a lot more to Lulu than "To Sir With Love," with a career that stretches from "Shout" to this latest album of duets. She is beloved in her native U.K., and rightly so. She's a national treasure. And yes, she does sound better than ever. The album would make a fine U.S. release, but my guess is anyone in America interested enough to hear it will have to purchase an import copy.